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Cannabinoids 2014;9(1):1-8 (19 January 2014)


11-Nor-9-carboxy-∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol – a ubiquitous yet underresearched cannabinoid. A re-view of the literature

István Ujváry, Franjo Grotenhermen

iKem BT, Budapest, Hungary
nova-Institue, Hürth, Germany

Synthetic ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), pharmaceutical grade herbal cannabis as well as for-mulations of well-defined cannabis extracts are available as registered medicines in several coun-tries. It is generally accepted that the main central and peripheral pharmacological effects of THC are mediated by CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Cytochrome P450-mediated oxidations of THC afford the non-psychoactive 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH) as main metabolite. The pharmacokinetics of THC-COOH has been studied thoroughly and this abundant acid metabolite has become an established urinary marker of cannabis consumption in forensic, clinical and envi-ronmental analyses. Surprisingly, however, data on the biological activity of this ubiquitous me-tabolite are scarce. A few studies have examined the effect of THC-COOH on the biosynthesis of prostaglandins and other eicosanoids, on capsaicin-sensitive sensory nerves, on the multidrug transporter P-glycoprotein, on the cannabinoid and estrogen receptors in vitro, as well as its anti-cataleptic, analgesic, platelet-activating factor inhibitory and anti-inflammatory activities in vivo; THC-COOH has also been reported to block certain behavioural effects of THC in rodents. Here-by we provide a literature review on the reported pharmacological effects of THC-COOH and ad-vocate further studies to reveal any potential involvement of this abundant metabolite in the complex pharmacology and in the proven therapeutic effects of THC-containing preparations.

cannabinoid, THC, metabolism, carboxylic acid, THC-COOH, pharmacology.

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